When I first started working, I only did speech therapy theme activities around Christmas time. There was no Instagram back then, so my therapy ideas came from the Super Duper catalog and things I made on my own.
It wasn’t until I got connected to the broader SLP world that I realized the magic of using themes. It seriously cut my planning time in half! Now, I like to plan by the month and incorporate a different theme each week (or sometimes 2).
If you slowly start gathering materials for your themed therapy, your planning will be covered for years to come. You’ll be able to pull out your themed bins and packets year after year.
Obviously, there are evergreen materials and resources that are absolutely essential. Those are usually student-specific, and I can easily use them alongside my themes.
So how do we build a unit around speech therapy themes? Maybe you’re new to themes like I was. Or you’ve tried it but could never make the materials work for your students’ goals.
Check out these tips for creating your perfect speech therapy theme unit!
If you’re a book therapy girl like me, you’ve got to incorporate that literacy-based speech into your sessions. Books are the perfect way to start building your theme. Hit up your school library, local library, thrift store, or borrow some from a friend if the budget is tight.
Look for different book series that span different seasons and holidays. Here are a few of my favorites:
- There Was an Old Lady series
- How to Catch a series
- Bear books by Karma Wilson
- Little Blue Truck series
- The Night Before books
- Biscuit books
I always like to keep 100 trial sheets, dot marker sheets, and other themed worksheets on hand. You even can grab a free editable articulation grid template in my last blog post. It’s super easy to add a few stamps and stickers or insert a few pictures to make it themed!
Though I love themed worksheets that are sound specific like my 100 Dots for the Year pack, worksheets that are open-ended make it easy to grab and adjust for any goal.
This year, most of my students are preschool and kindergarten age. With this crowd, you often need to pull out all the hands-on activities to keep them engaged.
Try a themed sensory bin or create playdough activities around your theme. Use a pencil or photo box to create small, individual sensory bins. Fill it with themed erasers, colorful pom poms, and crinkle paper. Easy peasy.
Want an easy trick to add themed objects and pictures to your sensory bin? Laminate stickers and put them in your bins!
Another activity to add to your themed speech therapy unit is crafts. You can use crafts to target any speech goal and kids usually love them.
I like to use general crafts alongside storybooks. Here are a few posts with FREE crafts that go with different themed books:
- Halloween books with DIY crafts
- Thanksgiving books with DIY crafts
- Valentine books with DIY crafts
- Easter books with DIY crafts
If you want crafts that target a specific goal and is also themed, check out my Accordion Craft Bundle. These can easily be mixed and matched, so that you can target any goal with any theme.
Down here in Louisiana, we have a term for things that are a little something extra…that’s “lagniappe.” If you have the time and budget, here are a few more items to add to your monthly theme:
- Toys – There are so many cute toys that are themed. Look for plastic animals, mini containers, or little packs from the Target dollar spot.
- Dollar store finds – You can find lots of random objects for your themes at a dollar store. I have used wall clings, table scatter, ornaments, and lots more in therapy.
- Amazon finds – I have more ideas in my Amazon store of different little items I’ve used with some of my themes. It’s a great source for random things you can’t find in your local dollar stores.
My themed mini units have a little bit of worksheets, sensory bin activities, playdough activities, and crafts, if you want a quick boost to get started with themed therapy. They are both printable and digital, so they work well for teletherapy too. 🙂
I hope some of these ideas inspire you to keep creating fun themes for you students! Download my FREE monthly plans template and see all my seasonal favorites each week while you’re there!